William Tyndale was burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English. He loaded our language with more phrases than any other writer before or since, and his genius matched that of Shakespeare, says Melvyn Bragg.
Bible scholar Don Carson writes:
My father was a church planter in Québec, in the difficult years when there was strong opposition, some of it brutal. Baptist ministers alone spent a total of eight years in jail between 1950 and 1952. Dad’s congregations were not large; they were usually at the lower end of the two-digit range.
On Sunday mornings after the eleven o’clock service, Dad would often play the piano and call his three children to join him in singing, while Mum completed the preparations for dinner. But one Sunday morning in the late fifties, I recall, Dad was not at the piano, and was not to be found.
I finally tracked him down. The door of his study was ajar. I pushed it open, and there he was, kneeling in front of his big chair, praying and quietly weeping. This time I could hear what he was saying. He was interceding with God on behalf of the handful of people to whom he had preached, and in particular for the conversion of a few who regularly attended but who had never trusted Christ Jesus.
In the ranks of ecclesiastical hierarchies, my father is not a great man. He has never served a large church, never written a book, never discharged the duties of high denominational office. Doubtless his praying, too, embraces idioms and stylistic idiosyncrasies that should not be copied.
But with great gratitude to God, I testify that my parents were not hypocrites. That is the worst possible heritage to leave with children: high spiritual pretensions and low performance. My parents were the opposite: few pretensions, and disciplined performance.
What they prayed for were the important things, the things that congregate around the prayers of Scripture. And sometimes when I look at my own children, I wonder if, should the Lord give us another thirty years, they will remember their father as a man of prayer, or think of him as someone distant who was away from home rather a lot and who wrote a number of obscure books.
That quiet reflection often helps me to order my days.
Source: Don Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers (Baker, 1992), page 26.
When it comes to determining my all time favorite preacher in church history (outside of the New Testament) I cannot choose between George Whitefield and C. H. Spurgeon. I love both of these men, for very different reasons. Yet there’s no doubt in my mind that Steve Lawson is one of my favorite preachers of today. Here’s Pastor Steve Lawson teaching on the personal life of Whitefield. It is both deeply inspiring as well as immensely challenging. May God, in His mercy, raise up preachers such as Whitefield in our own day.
Joe Rigney is Assistant Professor of Theology and Christian Worldview at Bethlehem College and Seminary where he teaches undergraduates in the Christian Worldview Program and courses on Jonathan Edwards. Here is a lecture of his which provides an introduction to the life, theology, writings and legacy of Jonathan Edwards.
Lecture time-markers —
04:14 — 1. Edwards on the Trinity
14:06 — 2. Edwards on Creation
18:27 — 3. Edwards on God’s End in Creation
32:06 — Conclusion
Q&A time-markers —
34:04 — Edwards on typology
37:56 — First recommended Edwards books to read
39:55 — Edwards on God’s direct creation and the place of causality
43:00 — Edwards and the classical tradition (Aristotle, Augustine, etc)
45:27 — Dante, Locke, and Edwards’s influences
47:02 — Edwards on spiders
49:14 — Edwards’s faults and weaknesses
51:36 — The Great Awakening and how Edwards processed it
56:46 — The Enlightenment and its influence on Edwards
59:40 — Edwards’s legacy
Dr. John Piper’s annual biographical message at the 2012 Conference for Pastors concerned the life and ministry of J. C. Ryle.
You can view it here.
B. B. Warfield
Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield (November 5, 1851 – February 16, 1921) was professor of theology at Princeton Seminary from 1887 to 1921. Some conservative Presbyterians consider him to be the last of the great Princeton theologians.
Kim Riddlebarger posts an excerpt from his dissertation giving an overview of Warfield’s life. Here are a couple of extracts about his marriage:
Soon after marrying Annie Pearce Kinkead, who was also from noble stock, the newlyweds journeyed to Leipzig…
During their stay in Europe an event occurred that would forever change the Warfield’s lives. While walking together in the Harz mountains, Mr. and Mrs. Warfield were caught in a violent thunderstorm. Annie Warfield suffered a severe trauma to her nervous system from which she never fully recovered. She was so severely traumatized that she would spend the rest of her life as an invalid of sorts, becoming increasingly more incapacitated as the years went by. Her husband was to spend the rest of their lives together giving her “his constant attention and care” until her death in 1915 (Allis, “Personal Impressions of Dr Warfield,” 10). B. B. Warfield could not have foreseen just how constant and difficult a demand this was to become, and how, in the providence of God, this would impact his entire career.
. . . Warfield’s remarkable literary output is, no doubt, in large measure due to the frail condition of his wife and his amazing devotion to her. With the pen he was a formidable foe, but as O. T. Allis recalls, “I used to see them walking together and the gentleness of his manner was striking proof of the loving care with which he surrounded her. They had no children. During the years spent at Princeton, he rarely if ever was absent for any length of time” (Allis, “Personal Impressions of Dr Warfield,” 10). Machen recalled that Mrs. Warfield was a brilliant woman and that Dr. Warfield would read to her several hours each day. Machen dimly recalled seeing Mrs. Warfield in her yard a number of years earlier during his own student days, but notes that she had been long since bed-ridden (Stonehouse, J. Gresham Machen, 220).
According to most accounts, Dr. Warfield almost never ventured away from her side for more than two hours at a time. In fact, he left the confines of Princeton only one time during a ten-year period, and that for a trip designed to alleviate his wife’s suffering which ultimately failed (Bamberg, “Our Image of Warfield Must Go,” 229)…
Though Warfield may have been known to many as a tenacious fighter, the compassion he directed toward his wife, Annie Kinkead Warfield, demonstrates a capacity for tenderness and caring that is in its own right quite remarkable. In the mysterious providence of God, it was the nature of his wife’s illness and his devotion to her, that ironically provided the greatest impetus for his massive literary output. Personally vital and energetic, “he did not allow” his wife’s illness “to hinder him in his work. He was intensely active with voice and pen” (Allis, “Personal Impressions of Dr Warfield,” 11). Thus his creative energies were focused in two directions: his writing and the classroom. As caretaker for an invalid wife, Warfield spent many hours each day in the confines of his study.
THE PRINCE OF PREACHERS – Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92) was England’s best-known preacher for most of the second half of the nineteenth century. In 1854, just four years after his conversion, then only 20, became pastor of London’s famed New Park Street Church (formerly pastored by the famous Baptist theologian John Gill). The congregation quickly outgrew their building, moved to Exeter Hall, then to Surrey Music Hall.
In these venues Spurgeon frequently preached to audiences numbering more than 10,000 — all in the days before electronic amplification.
In 1861 the congregation moved permanently to the newly constructed London Metropolitan Tabernacle.
Spurgeon’s sermons are still in wide circulation today, along with his many printed works such as his “Letters to My Students”, and “The Treasury of David.”
Shai Linne’s Spurgeon track from “Storiez” with lyrics and images.